"Dust Storm" dangers: There's an app for that
Web Producer: Simone Del Rosario
“Dust Storm,” available for free download on iTunes, provides alerts and safety tips using the phone’s geographical location. The warnings, available throughout the country, come directly from the WeatherBug service.
Kirk Astroth, assistant dean of Cooperative Extension at UA, came up with the idea when he saw a similar app in
"Dust storms are so common in
According to a report by the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 193 crashes in 2011 in weather conditions that included blowing sand, soil or dirt. As a result, two people died and 140 more were injured.
Astroth said he hopes those numbers will go down with education, noting that many people simply don't know the proper action to take in a dust storm, especially out-of-state visitors who might not be accustomed to these types of events.
He said one of the most common mistakes is simply attempting to drive through the storm, even when blinded by a curtain of dirt. Some other safety tips found on the app include: Do not stop in a travel or emergency lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved roadway; and turn off all vehicle lights, including emergency flashers.
It also contains a list of things people should keep in their cars as part of a “Dust Storm Survival Kit;” items like water, snacks, a basic first-aid kit, flashlight, dusk mask and whistle.
The app was developed by UA’s information technology department and is one of many apps involved in the university’s Mobile Matters initiative. An Android version of the app is expected to be released in late March or April.